Haddock Flavor Profile
Haddock are a northern Atlantic fish which are related to Cod yet are distinctly different. They have a mildly sweet taste with lean white flesh and medium flakes with a texture which is firm yet tender after cooking.
When compared to Cod, Haddock have a finer flake and a more tender texture with a slightly sweeter flavor than Cod. I find the flavor to be closer to Halibut than to Cod. They also have thin layer of connective tissue covering the flesh which Cod do not have. This connective tissue doesn’t affect the taste or texture, but is a good way to differentiate Cod fillets from Haddock fillets.
In northern Europe Haddock is revered for fish & chips, as well as for a famous cold-smoked preparation called Finnan Haddie which was first served in Scotland around 1800 and become popular in London around 1830-1840.
Typical Cooking Methods
It does not salt well, but drying and smoking preparations work well.
Scrod (which is also a name for small Cod), Finnan Haddie, Snapper Haddock
Typical Wholesale Products
Fresh: Head/On Dressed, H & G, Fillets (Skin/On), Loins
Frozen: H & G, Fillets (Skin/On), Blocks
Processed: Breaded portions, Smoked, Dried
Haddock Description (Melanogrammus aeglefinus)
Haddock are a groundfish and are a member of the Cod family; however, they are generally smaller than Atlantic Cod. They are easy to distinguish from other fish by the three dorsal fins along its back, a horizontal black line along the length of its white side, and a very distinctive “thumbprint” like black blotch above the pectoral fins (shoulder area). This black spot is sometimes referred to as “St. Peter’s mark” or the “devil’s thumbprint” (strange dichotomy of terms!)
Haddock are a dark purple-gray color from the back fading down to the black lateral line, and silvery-gray below the lateral line accented with pinkish reflections. They usually are very uniform in color, but occasionally may have some mottled markings, but nothing like those of a Cod.
They grow relatively fast, with the largest Haddock on record weighing 37 pounds, 44 inches long. But the average commercial size is much smaller, about 2 to 5 pounds and 20 to 24 inches long. The average life span is about 3 to 7 years but they can live to about 20 years old.
Haddock is sometimes called various names based upon size:
|image by Steven G. Johnson||image from Wikipedia||image source|
Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh. Frozen available all year long.
Haddock Butchering Yield Percentage
|Item||To Skin/On Fillets||To Skin/Off Fillets||Notes|
|Whole Head/On gutted, large fish||47%||42%|
|Whole Head/On gutted, small fish||43%||40%|
|Skin/On Fillets||—||91%||If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.|
|Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.|
Range & Habitat
Haddock are a groundfish which inhabits both the American & European Atlantic Coasts. They prefer bottoms of pebbles, gravel, clay, or smooth hard sand and are most abundant at depths of 130 to 500 feet deep, preferring temperatures below 45° F.
In the western Atlantic they range from Newfoundland to Cape Cod in the summer months, and as far south as Cape Hatteras in North Carolina in the winter. They are most abundant on the Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine.
Haddock Sustainability Info
|Name||Alternate Names||Catch Method||Catch|
|Haddock||Scrod||Wild: Hook & Line||US Atlantic||n/a||Moderate|
|Wild: Bottom Longline, Handline, Hook & Line||Canadian Atlantic||n/a||n/a|
|Wild: Trawl||US Atlantic|
|Wild: Bottom Trawl||Canadian Atlantic|
|Wild: Bottom Longline, Bottom Trawl, Gillnet||Iceland Atlantic|
|Note: small Cod are also referred to as “Scrod”|
Disclaimer: The sustainability info above is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, each program randomly updates their information without our knowledge. We therefore recommend that you verify the current accuracy of this information.
= Best Choice/Recommended = Good Alternative = Avoid/Not Recommended
Haddock receive a “Good Alternative” rating primarily because of serious issues with by-catch due to the fishing gear used. I’m a little surprised that Blue Ocean does not have a separate rating for Hook & Line caught Haddock, but instead lumps them all together. The n/a ratings simply mean that I could not find that specific catch method and region listed in the rankings for each program. I would assume that a green “Best Choice” applies for all Haddock caught off the US & Canadian Atlantic using Bottom Longline, Handline, Hook & Line gear. But, that is only my logical assumption, not a fact.
based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving.